“Now there was a man,” begins this memorable chapter of backwoods lore, “whose name was Reuben, and the same was very great in substance; in horses and cattle and swine, and a very great household.
It came to pass when the sons of Reuben grew up that they were desirous of taking to themselves wives, and being too well known as to honor in their own country they took a journey into a far country and there procured for themselves wives.
It came to pass also that when they were about to make the return home they sent a messenger before them to bear the tidings to their parents.
These, enquiring of the messengers what time their sons and wives would come, made a great feast and called all their kinsmen and neighbors in and made great preparations.
When the time drew nigh they sent out two men to meet the grooms and their brides with a trumpet to welcome them and to accompany them.
When they came near unto the house of Reuben the father, the messenger came on before them and gave a shout, and the whole multitude ran out with shouts of joy and music, playing on all kinds of instruments.
Some were playing on harps, some on viols, and some blowing on rams' horns.
Some also were casting dust and ashes towards heaven, and chief among them all was Josiah, blowing his bugle and making sound so great the neighboring hills and valleys echoed with the resounding acclamation.
When they had played and their harps had sounded till the grooms and brides approached the gates, ”